Mountain Walking

A Walk About Scandal Point Shimla

Scandal Point, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India, 2 July 2018:

One of the most notable points one gets really curious about while visiting Shimla is the Scandal Point. Located on the Mall Road, it is said that the name was designated to this point when the erstwhile Maharaja of Patiala (namely Bhupinder Singh) carried off the daughter of a British commander-in- chief from here. Though there isn’t much historical evidence to verify this claim, Scandal Point has been (and still is) a meeting point for people to gather, catch up on news, gossip and collect information.

It has been a witness to many a government’s rise and fall, secrets being exchanged in whispers about not only who ran off with whom but also who is likely to run off with whom. It is situated right in the middle of the square in between the current Town Hall and the General Post Office (GPO) with the ICICI Bank occupying the building right next to it. A statue of Lala Lajpat Rai (which was brought all the way from Lahore post Independence in the year 1948) is also positioned here.

Scandal Point is connected by roads from all four corners and upon reaching this point, one can see the Jakhu Hill towering in the east with a huge statue of Lord Hanuman visible on top in the dense and thick forest that covers the entire mountain.

There was a time when people had to get neatly dressed in proper uniforms to even come and walk on the Mall Road, while most of the local Indians who couldn’t afford to do so occupied the lower market or the present Lower Bazaar. It was also to be noted that one had to keep on the left while walking, and not to obstruct the way of others by standing in the middle of the road. To ensure this, guards used to patrol the entire Mall Road, walking in the middle following a line marked by metal plates placed at regular intervals. This used to be in practice even post independence up until recently, when policemen were entrusted with the same duty.

Even now, one can see policemen dressed in the same old fashion (with a different attire from the current uniform code) standing at the Scandal Point, ensuring there is no chaos.

Lala Lajpat Rai’s statue at the Scandal Point in Shimla

Lala Lajpat Rai’s statue at the Scandal Point in Shimla seen in the evening as the clouds finally scatter; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal

A neatly dressed policeman keeping a look-out at the Scandal Point in Shimla

A neatly dressed policeman keeping a look-out at the Scandal Point in Shimla, with the statue of Lord Hanuman visible on top of the Jakhu Hill in the background; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal

View towards General Post Office (GPO) from Scandal Point in Shimla

View towards General Post Office (GPO) from Scandal Point in Shimla. Before the recent reconstructions, this place used to have ornate wooden buildings constructed in Swiss Bavarian style of architecture, housing many commercial banks such as the Grindlays; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal

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